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Men Don't Leave is a 1990 American comedy-drama film starring Jessica Lange as a housewife who, after the death of her husband, moves with her two sons to Baltimore. Chris O'Donnell, Arliss Howard, Joan Cusack, Charlie Korsmo and Kathy Bates also co-star in this film. The film, directed by Paul Brickman and co-written with Barbara Benedek, is a remake of the French film La Vie Continue. The original music score was composed by Thomas Newman. Warner Brothers released the film on DVD for the first time on September 15, 2009, as part of the "Warner Archive Collection".

Men Don't Leave
Men Don't Leave (film poster).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPaul Brickman
Produced byJon Avnet
Written byBarbara Benedek
Paul Brickman
Music byThomas Newman
CinematographyBruce Surtees
Edited byRichard Chew
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
February 2, 1990
Running time
115 min.
CountryUnited States
Budget$7 million
Box office$6 million[1]


Weighed down by her late contractor husband's debts in Bingham, Maryland, widowed mother Beth Macauley is compelled to sell her house and move to a less costly locale. She relocates in Baltimore with her sons Chris and Matt and takes a job at a gourmet food store managed by Lisa Coleman. 17-year-old Chris (Chris O'Donnell) turns angry and aggressive while 9-year-old Matt (Charlie Korsmo) hides his deep sense of loss under a steely exterior. Beth is drawn into a relationship with Charles Simon, a musician who builds her self-esteem. However, after losing her job, she plunges into a five-day depression during which she refuses to leave her bedroom.

Beth is an extremely vulnerable, easily discouraged person who cannot seem to get a grip on her circumstances. Chris falls in love with Jody, an older Radiographer who lives in the same building. Matt falls under the influence of a young schoolmate who breaks into houses and steals VCRs. His dream is to get enough money to buy back their suburban house. Beth and her sons eventually pull themselves together, and realize that to abandon each other is not the answer. Beth tells her sons, "Heartbreak is life educating us," and the lessons turn out to be worth learning.

Main castEdit


The film received mixed reviews.[2][3][4][5] Lange's performance was praised by critics.

Box officeEdit

The film was unsuccessful at the box office, grossing just over $6 million in the US on a $7 million budget.


  1. ^ Men Don't Leave at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ "MOVIE REVIEWS : Women Alone . . . Except for the Children : Drama: 'Men Don't Leave' tells of love, loss and life's blissful unpredictability". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-10.
  3. ^ "Men Don't Leave". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2012-06-10.
  4. ^ "Review/Film;Jessica Lange As a Widow Waking Up To Problems". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-06-10.
  5. ^ "Men Don't Leave". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-06-10.

External linksEdit